We are continuing our meditations about the supernatural works of Jesus. Today we look at the raising of a little girl from death:
49While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore” 50Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened (Luke 8:49-56).
Jesus said to Jairus, the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (v. 50). When they got to his home, the professional mourners were already there crying and wailing at the child's death. The Lord said to them, “Stop wailing,” “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead” (vs. 52-53). The Greek word translated as laughed in verse 53 describes a scornful belly laugh of ridicule at the words of Jesus. They were no beginners at funerals. They knew she was not asleep and that this was no coma. What did Jesus mean by saying that Jairus’ daughter was sleeping? The Scriptures clearly show that those of the household of faith in Christ never die. They may put our bodies in the ground, but believers in Christ are very much alive at the point of departure from the body. Let's talk a little about what happens upon death:
Some believe that when a Christian dies, his soul sleeps, unconscious, until Christ comes for them at the resurrection. The Bible does have a few passages where Jesus talked about death for a Christian as “sleep.” Here’s one of them:
11After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." 12His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep (John 11:11-13).
Christ deliberately waited two days before He even left for the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:6). The Lord wanted to prove to the skeptics that He had authority over death. Jews believed that the dead person's spirit could remain around his body for up to two days before going to the afterlife. Lazarus was not sleeping in the tomb. He was dead.
[Jesus said:] “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
People are only dead when they have not entered into a relationship with Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 5). The Scriptures say that, at this moment in heaven, there are the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). In another place, when Christ returns for His people at the rapture, “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Their bodies are in the grave, but the unseen part of our nature, i.e., our spirit, is very much alive and with the Lord.
When I get into my car, it is dead until I turn on the ignition. It will do nothing at all without my driving it. In the same way, the real me is composed of a spirit and soul that "drives" my body. Each person lives on beyond death. There is more to life than just this body of flesh.
At a funeral, we bury something, not someone; it is the house, not the tenant, that is lowered into the grave. Verna Wright.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1).
Paul the Apostle wrote: “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Paul fully expected that the instant he was released from his body, he would go immediately to be with the Lord. If you are a believer in Christ, the body is "asleep" until the coming of the Lord. To be "absent" from the body is for one's spirit to go to its eternal abode—either heaven with the Lord or hell, separated from God for eternity.
The Lord took Jairus and his wife into the room with Him, plus His three closest disciples: Peter, James, and John. It was an intimate moment with the Savior. He cares for us in our pain; He cares for us in our trouble. Jesus cares! 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat (Luke 8:54-55). When Jesus took the daughter's hand and told her to get up, Luke tells us that her spirit returned (v. 55). What a beautiful sight it must have been for those parents as her eyes flickered before opening, and she saw the face of the Lord Jesus. Many of us reading these words will one day have that experience of shutting the eyes of flesh and seeing the Lord Jesus as we pass into eternal life. Where had the little girl been? Her body was dead on the bed before the Lord, but her spirit had been somewhere else—with the Father in heaven. I hope to see you there. Keith Thomas
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